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Old 09-03-2008, 12:29 PM
Lexie Palmore Lexie Palmore is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,100

Lots of questions and many on this board can contribute, but I'll start first. Typically, the engineer on watch is responsible for answering the bells from the pilot house as soon as the bells or other signal is made. The engineer has his own settings on the throttle for the different speeds. Engineers like to know ahead of time if there will be changes. Experienced engineers usually know the river well enough to anticipate landings and locks. I have been told that old hands knew what bells would be rung from what pilots before they were even rung. While on the DQ I would call the engine room and/or boiler room to prepare them for any changes, especially if it was something out of the blue. At times a pilot or captain may not like a particular speed. A certain speed on the DQ would cause the pilothouse to shake. Or a little more oomph was needed for some swift current. The engineer would be called to change the settings a little, and asked kindly. There is technically no "in between" speed. You would just call to ooch things back or ahead a little. The speed, such as full or half, would still be the same, unless the pilot actually rang the bell for a different speed. There was a engine order indicator in the boiler room of the DQ. It may still be there. Rule #1, always keep an eye on that pressure gage. And the water level.

From the pilot house, we could tell what was going on down below by the wheel revolutions. It was expected that, say, full ahead would be so many rpms. All relative to river conditions, of course.

A bagged boiler is a bulge caused by low or no water in the boiler, thus the steel overheats and sags or warps, weakening the boiler shell. Not good. Usually means the boiler is fried and has to be replaced. And a fireman is fired. I don't know about the repairs to bagged boilers, if that is even possible.
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